They say seafood is an aphrodisiac. What if the potential seafood is at least as big as you are, often bigger, and even more often, considered to be an ancient God? Cthulhurotica is an anthology that explores some of the possibilities of love and lust intertwined with the Cthulhu Mythos. We have some potent tales within these pages; ‘Descent of the Wayward Sister’ by Gabrielle Harbowy leads us to a dark basement with an erotic secret. ‘The Assistant from Innsmouth’ by Steven James Scearce, shows us an accountant who hires local help on a project but soon doesn’t know who is assisting who. ‘Infernal Attractions’ by Cody Goodfellow unveils shades of From Beyond as a young woman forces her man to build a Tillinghast Resonator, in order to quench her demanding addictions.
Despite these transgressions, this collection does not portray a far-fetched world of monsters and sex. It relays a world that is very much like it is today with a bit of Cthulhu around the edges of its reality. It is more like an aphrodisiac than the main event and never gets too harsh. So if you are expecting caustic aggressions that would shock as much as they would arouse, this is probably not the anthology you have in mind.
Cthulhurotica made for some enjoyable reading and entertained in its melding of seemingly incompatible worlds. My only concern is that perhaps this is the first step to Twilight-izing the Cthulhu Mythos – to turn the silver-gray and dismal dark shades of alien beasts to lavender and fuchsia, turn the rotting stench of decaying sea-life to a supine fragrance, and turn the slimy, scaly textures of monstrous hide to a subtle oiled leather – creating a more acceptable world for the non-horror reader. The Lovecraft world is an exclusionary one. The people that love it have an instant bond in their knowledge of strange secrets that no others could fathom. The last thing I want is a Lovecraft film staring Robert Pattinson and a bunch of tweens discussing the merits of The Great Old Ones. Did you know that Nyarlathotep’s skin shimmers in daylight?